- Adam Johnson was cut in the neck by Matt Petgrave’s blade during a game on Saturday
- The Sheffield Steelers player has faced taunts and even murder allegations
- DailyMail.com provides the latest international sports news
Adam Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers teammate Westin Michaud has spoken out in support of Matt Petgrave.
Johnson, 29, died on the ice in front of 8,000 spectators after his opponent Petgrave’s skate injured his neck following a collision during the Panthers’ game against the Sheffield Steelers in England on Saturday.
The incident has sparked controversy, with some speculating whether Petgrave intentionally kicked Johnson.
But Johnson’s teammate, 27-year-old Michaud, has come to Petgrave’s defense and spoken out on social media.
“I need to address something about the accident,” Michaud wrote on I was at ice level on the bench closest to the accident and saw both players moving quickly.
Adam Johnson (right) died after Matt Petgrave’s (left) blade cut his neck
Johnson’s Nottingham Panthers teammate Westin Michaud defended Petgrave
Michaud took to social media to criticize the abuse and backlash Petgrave faced
“The Sheffield player’s unintentional injury to the Panther player’s leg caused the somersault.” It is clear to me that his actions were unintentional and anyone who claims otherwise is mistaken. Let’s come together and not spread unwarranted hatred towards anyone who needs it [our] Support.’
Michaud’s public support for Petgrave comes after former NHL player Sean Avery called the Steelers defenseman a “dirty player” and claimed he “absolutely” tried to contact Johnson.
However, when Fox host Jesse Watters said it looked like “murder,” Avery said, “That’s a pretty dangerous word. “I’ve seen it, it’s horrible, it’s hard to watch.
“Did this boy make a move that was very unorthodox?” Do I think he was trying to make some kind of contact? Absolutely.’
Avery added, “Do I think he woke up and said I’m going to murder someone today? NO.”
Former NFL player and radio host Jermaine Wiggins also sparked outrage when he suggested Petgrave had intentionally kicked Johnson.
Discussion about the tragic accident The Greg Hill Show Last week Wiggins said: “I guess the other player, I’m forgetting his name right now, I’m stumped right now, but they said he’s had some situations in the past.”
“If you look at it – look at it again – he kind of kicks him. It looks like it wasn’t an accident.’
Sheffield Steelers player Petgrave, 31, fatally slit Johnson’s throat with his blade in what was described as a “freak accident” as they clashed during a game in front of 8,000 fans
Adam Johnson in action for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL in Columbus, Ohio, in 2017
Saturday’s incident occurred in the 35th minute of the Elite Ice Hockey League game at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield. The game was later abandoned.
Footage showed Petgrave crammed one of Johnson’s teammates on Saturday in a collision that caused him to lose his balance before his leg was raised and struck Johnson’s neck.
After the incident during Saturday’s Challenge Cup game, both the Panthers and the EIHL described the collision as a “freak accident,” but police are investigating Johnson’s death and Petgrave was subjected to horrific taunts and racial slurs.
Video of the incident showed Johnson standing up and blood spilling onto the ice. A referee and a teammate helped him as he left the rink, but he collapsed on the ice.
He received immediate medical attention, cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed on the ice and he was taken to the hospital, but could not be saved.